Thursday, April 13, 2017

Catching up Blogging

After being silent from blogging for almost two years since last post, it's very difficulty to write something now. Lot's of ideas are there but all try to come out at once and can't focus on anything. This is what happen when I lose the consistency on posting. This is an era where video taking over the content leadership and text getting a back seat on the Internet. And I'm loosing my writing skills as well. In such situation, I'm writing this post as a warming up post.

During the past couple of years, my life also took few turns. After obtaining the MBA, took a new role in a software company to head the business operations. And then there was a new addition to our family. Birth of Dwayne, my second son on 13th January 2017. Life got more excited and busier then. Responsibilities on both work and family kept me fully occupied. I'm going to stop this post soon because, there is no value addition to the time spent on reading this. But, I wanted to break the ice.

Career wise, I was fortunate to start as a IT Technical person and moved to the IT marketing and business operations domains as the technical background gave me a good foundation to bridge the gap between technology and customer need and help the product teams to align the software they develop to meet the business requirements.

And I thought of taking risks/challenges in my life time to time. That keeps me moving and kick me out of my comfort zones and help me to excel. It can be career, it can be personal life, what ever I feel like need to tweak or change. Sometimes, I get closer to my inner thoughts of life as a whole in a philosophical way. It helped me to understand the importance of being happy about yourself, staying closer to your loved ones, staying healthy and young in heart while keeping a tie with the Buddhism to learn to let go at the right time.

Like I said in the beginning, this is an ice breaking post. I'm sorry I could not add any value to your time if you red this thus far.

Cheers!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Customer Focused Technology Innovation - A Simple Yet Powerful Thought

If we go thousands of years back and look at how trading began, you'll notice that it was about fulfilling a need of some one. Before money was introduced to the world, people used to trade an item for an item. Most trades did not have the similar values but fulfilled the need of each person. For an example; A person in need of a piece of cloth - might exchange some honey with the other person to obtain a piece of cloth. I think buying and selling started by one person accepting something useless for him at that moment but kept it for future trade. That's just a thought.

When Information Communication Technology (ICT) was introduced for business, it was considered as a "Business Support Service". Whenever a finance crisis hits an organization, ICT was in the cost cutting side of the budget. This is no longer valid in the world of integrated enterprise. Today, ICT is not a business support service, it runs the business. Every business today, whether small, medium or large are thinking beyond their geographic boundaries and also think in innovating, growth and being competitive. Organizations need business intelligence; data-to-information to make real time decisions which helps their strategy and its execution in a continuously successful flow. Big data analysis is essential in any business today. Knowing your customer well is not well enough to survive in the competition, you got to do more.

Technology is innovating in its own way is not helping the business to sustain and make use of technology in large scale. That is one reason for many businesses to stick with their trusted legacy systems. For an example; a technology company may have a great platform integrated very well, inter-operate well, highly optimized and beats the competitive platform in speed, etc. But, what if they do not solve the business problems effectively? What if the company do not have the empathy for the customer? They might be having a world class technology platform, but they will start loosing customers in the long run. Technology companies should cater for the best interest for their customers. Technology companies should innovate around the customer and serve better by making their platform a unique experience to the customer and make them winners.

Mr. Chris Kariyawasam, Key Account Manger Nestle Lanka PLC and an MBA lecturer in marketing strategy told "Everything begins and ends with the customer". That's where I first heard the phrase, but it carved in to my thoughts and changed my thinking pattern from technology oriented marketer to customer oriented marketer. Most of the technology companies are marketing their product to beat the competition. But they are missing the focus on customer. They keep innovating around the technology but a high percentage of customers are with a competitor who has both the technology and customer centric product or service. Companies such as Facebook, Google, SAP are technology innovators with a great empathy on customer. They build great platforms that makes the end user's life easy. Once you make the customer successful, your success will follow with that. 

Final thought to carry is, customer is the essence of all we do as a company. Technology is not something that keeps updating and systems are not just software upgrades you do in regular basis. They are part of the business ecosystem that helps the customer to do what they do better. Make the customer a winner and help them to become successful in what they do and your success will follow with that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Entution: A Journey based ERP on Cloud

ERP is a very scary term for many corporates. For some organizations, it is a huge expense and a sunk cost. As per the Panorama Consultants 60% of ERP implementations are challenged projects. The main reason for this is the complexity of the entire ERP domain.
Bileeta is an ERP development company which has more than 15 years of experience in ERP development and its business models. They provide a tire II ERP solution for businesses who are in the sales and distributions, projects & services and finance verticals. They list the following as the complexity formulating factors for ERP implementations.










Software products are not visible until you use them. ERP no difference. No matter how many pre sales meetings you have the end user is not getting the actual picture of what they are getting. Demos help to clear the picture a bit, but still the end result is not clear.










Lack of visibility then leads to a situation where you are unable to map your business requirements with the system you are getting.









This results a system that has loads of functionality you may or may not use. This makes the system bulky and difficult to use.














An ERP system is heavily used by the operational staff of an organization. The new system is challenging the current status quo of the staff. This makes the staff resistance to use and making the organizational change management process a challenging one.

 







This user resistance in turns results a huge amount of customizations to the product and long running training and consulting program to get them to adopt the new system in day to day work. This results exceeded project time. Time is money, so it increases the implementation cost too.

Bileeta came up with a brand new concept called "Journeys" to reduce this complexity which in turns will reduce the time and budget that need to spend ERP implementation. 



 "Journey" is basically a combination of functionalities across the modules to cater a business process. In traditional ERPs, you need to get bunch of modules to get a single functionality to work. The end user knows their business process well, but they do not know the "Modules". Journeys are these exact functionalities they want. 


This concept helps an organization to start using the necessary functionalities of a system to start with and add more journeys as they grow. This gives the flexibility for the organization to slowly adopt the entire ERP system without going through the hassle of a complicated change management process within the organization to adopt the ERP solution.  



Since this is a cloud based solution, all the journeys are available in a journey pool and can be imported to the existing system without any disturbance to the ongoing processes. 

All these are bundled in to the new product named "Entution" The product it self is designed in a easy to buy, configure (3 steps configuration) and use. Also it is offered in public cloud for general users, public cloud for industry specific users and public/private cloud for large organizations.

Entution has won the Gold award in the NBQSA 2014 under the category of e-logistic and supply chain management. It also won the overall Gold award for the year 2014. This has proven its disruptiveness in the domain and stability of the product. 


Check out this video to get a quick feel of Entution.

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Note: Images used in this post are copyrighted to Bileeta (Pvt) Ltd.


References

Panorama Consulting. 2014. 2014 ERP Report. [ONLINE] Available at: http://panorama-consulting.com/resource-center/2014-erp-report/. [Accessed 21 October 14].

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The Concept of "Connected Marketing" in Short


The world is never going to be a simple place. People's requirements are complex. Not only human beings, even animal's requirements are more complex than before. Marketing also have passed several iterations of changes but the core of marketing has not being changed. I liked one of the quotes a lecturer in my MBA mentioned which is, "Marketing is common sense, common sense that is not so common". It is indeed understanding people, needs, community and trying to cater the best product or service. Also, to sustain the connection you had with the individual or community by keeping them nurturing. Another angle would be to understand human psychology and influence on it to create awareness and help them to success their goals. There are tools to help marketing products or services, but if you think clearly, it's really the common sense that help to achieve the actual results.

Today we are connected with the world in many ways. That itself brings a big challenge to marketing our product/service/brand/etc as the competitors also have the same amount of resources to connect with the customer. Connecting with a customer for lifetime would be the ultimate success of the business in the long run.

It's obvious that now days we use Internet to connect with the rest of the world more than other conventional method such as snail mails, postcards, telegrams, etc. A Computer is now a house appliance and Internet is the connecting medium. Well, with all the information we've shared, many entities know almost all the details of individuals to a greater extent. Eg: Pizza hut maintains a detail level records of what you ordered, when, delivered locations, etc.

In business we use connecting technologies to connect with Customers, Partners and world around us. We use TV, CD/DVDs, cell phones, fax, web, virtual reality displays, etc to communicate about the product or service. Not like in past, organizations now segment the market and connecting with selective customer base to talk about their product/service.

Connecting for a Lifetime

In today's marketing, companies being more selective about which customers they should serve. Companies dig deeper to customer needs and trying to build a long lasting relationship. Not like in mass marketing, this effort is to ensure that the selected customer will retain for a longer period, by managing the lifetime value of a customer. When a business do better in keeping old customers happy makes the competitors very difficult to find new customers. As the loyalty of the customers increases credibility of the business also increases. Hence, businesses now days trying to grow the "share of customer" instead of "share of market". They try to find needs of existing customers and provide products or services to satisfy those needs. If you look at Amazon (http://amazon.com), they started as online bookseller and now sells many other things to keep their customers engaged.

Connecting with Stakeholders

Stakeholders includes people are from inside and outside of the company (Staff, partners, board, customers, community, etc). In default scenario, marketing folks helps to bridge the consumer and a particular product team/department to coordinate the need and supply chain. Also in some organizations almost everyone is playing a marketing role to some extend. Eg: Software companies like WSO2 Inc have people who plays cross roles. Engineering team helps a lot in Marketing where they attend in Webinars, writing blog posts about products, etc which are not directly related to Engineering. So it's all connected, Marketing, sales, manufacturing, engineering and list can go on.

Strategic alliances have become a need in most of the companies. For example, most of the big companies are at least have a single partner. Strategic partnerships are playing some sort of an role in any type of business in a given time. A business to grow successfully the connection with stakeholders have to be strong and long lasting. Poor communication with stakeholders also a huge indirect cost to an organization.

Even though we think we know all the fancy theories of marketing we fail most of the time because we have not focused on the "common sense". Understanding how world is changing and filling the need gap is going to be one of the big challenges for Marketeers. No matter how good your marketing/corporate plan is, if you don't have the common sense and do not have the understanding of connected marketing, the probability of failure is very high. Marketing is not just sending bunch of mails to a set of email addresses in a database, street promotions, advertising or fancy conferences. It includes a challenging task of understanding human needs and connecting with them for lifetime (B2B or B2C).

This post is just to scratch the surface of the whole Connected Marketing concept. This does not cover the methods on how to successfully market your product/service. As one of the basic principles in marketing, if you understand that "Everything in marketing starts and ends with the customer", you can go a long way as a successful connected business.

Happy year 2014!


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Transform your Organization into a Connected Business - Learn by attending WSO2Con USA 2013

Is your organization a connected business? The following points will give you an idea of a "connected business" environment. 
  • Integrated - Does your organization has a smooth and effective interactions within and with outside world?
  • Accessible - Does it facilitate the interactions by reducing conflicts and cost?
  • Collaborative - Does it support collaborations within and outside world to enhance productivity of the business?
  • Adaptive - Does it sense the ever changing business needs, technology and automatically adapts them to your environment?
If your answer is "Yes" to all the above, you're already in the connected business environment.

WSO2 always being in the business of enabling all those factors for almost 8 years. WSO2's biggest technology conference, WSO2Con is going to focus on how to make your organization a connected business by overcoming current technological barriers at hand.

The Conference includes a set of Pre-conferance tutorials, which will conducted by our own experts who actually wrote the code in many of the products. Attending the tutorials will give you a detail level understanding of how WSO2 Platform really does the trick of making your business a connected business. Also, the conference will help you to get to know more about the all new WSO2 Mobile Platform too.

The two day conference is where the Architects and CxO level people will find more insights on how can an organization become lean and agile, how to transform your current organization in to connected business, clear out any doubts they had before about this transformation, get to know how big organizations such as Stubhub, Boeing, Spectrum Health, Trimble, T-Systems (and many other) benefited by joining hands with WSO2.

The conference is held from October 29 - 31 2013 at Mission Bay Conference Center, San Fransisco.

If you really need to transform your business in to a "Connected Business" and enjoy the benefit of the lean and agile enterprise environment, Register Now!. (There is a 25% discount till September 10th)


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Raspberry Pi First Impression

Raspberry Pi is a revolutionary piece of gadget that introduced to the computer arena back in 2006. Even though the concept was there from 2006, the actual commercial board was available from February 2012.

The board is little bit larger than a credit card. Currently there are two types of board available, Model A and Model B. Key differences of the two are as below:


Model AModel B
256MB RAM512MB RAM
1 USB port2 USB ports
No EthernetOn Board Ethernet
200MA Power700MA

It contains an ARM11 processor that'll operate in 700MHz. A GPU (which shares memory from RAM) that capable of playing HD quality video. A HDMI port as VGA technology is getting old now ;).

Couple of my friends were doing a superb demonstration of WSO2's product stack running on a R-Pi cluster during the WSO2Con 2013 London. It was a cool project. That's the first day I saw R-Pi in action. I was so interested and wanted to get on hold of a one soon. After couple of months of WSO2Con, I went to Azeez and got one of the boards he used for the demo with a pre-installed SD card.

I did not have a USB Keyboard at that time. But the Pi's network were preconfigured by Azeez and I could see the IP of the Pi. Managed to ssh to it by connecting directly via a Cat 5 cable. By just doing a 'startx', I could start the graphical display too. Well, that was easy.

Then I managed to share the Inernet connection from my Laptop with the Pi with IP Forwarding and iptables. Then wondered around Raspberian OS. My first impression of this gadget was awesome!

I will be preparing another SD card from scratch to experience the process and see what more this tiny can do.







Sunday, May 27, 2012

Back to Two Wheels After a Long Time

My life began with two wheels, I still remember (the very first years that I remember in my life), I used to sit on the handle bar of my father's "Hunter" foot bike. Father was paddling many kilometers with mom and me per day. Then from there father had a Honda CB 125 and a Honda CD 50. Yeh, father was not going towards big bikes, he just focused on saving some money on fuel. I only had a mountain bike during my school days :).

I start riding motor cycles in my very little age, where my legs were not long enough to touch the ground. My father used to give me the handle bar while we riding, so I had an idea of controlling the bike from my age of 5. After I grow a bit, I start to learn riding in my father's CB 125, but he does not know it. When father is asleep, I pushed the bike away from home and start it i fell many times burned my legs touching the engine and exhaust can. But my desire to ride never fade. when I reach my age of 8, I was a confident rider.

I got my driving license in my age 21. But I was driving cars and riding bikes without license for many years. My usual trick when traffic cops shows up is, stop before they stop me, switch off, get down from the bike, push it passing them, till they don't see me, get on and ride back. Cos, I knew, I don't need a license to "push a motor bike". There were many times I got caught by cops in town, but being excused as I sell the names of my uncles and the grand pa (was a D.I.G by that time).

I got myself a motor bike in 2004, I still have it. It's a Honda CBX Custom 125Cc. It was a very good bike and I have lots of memories tied to that bike. Road it across the country and now retired.

The recent machine I bought is bit bigger than the previous one and also gives a different riding experience. It's a Honda CBR 250RR (MC22). A 249Cc, 4 cylinder bike which can do a 0 to 100 Km/h within 8 seconds. In Sri Lanka, the legitimate max engine capacity is 250Cc. But we even have 1200Cc bikes on the roads registered under 250Cc category. But, in case if we met with an accident or, being checked properly for the capacity the bike it's gone and you'll have to pay a big fine too. I did not want to take that risk. So instead of looking at 600Cc or a 1000Cc bike, I bought this. When  the law is open for bigger engines, I'll surely buy a 600Cc. People say there are no proper roads to ride in Sri Lanka, but many of those have not seen the open roads out side Colombo. And when you talk about the danger, my stand is, it's no matter whether you are on two wheels or four wheels or ten wheels, if you hit properly you are a dead man!

My mother passed away suddenly and before she close her eyes for ever she told me "putha bike eka genawada? parissamin padinna". Mean, "Son did you brought the bike home? Ride carefully". She passed away after the followed by surgery. She knows I love bikes. I miss my mother today! :(

In Sri Lanka, it's very hard to buy a brand new bike like this. There are many brand-new small Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Korean and many other bikes , but no big bikes like CBR, Ninja, Hornet, Ducati, etc. You either have to import it or buy a second hand one. And you'll have to accept the quality of the bike as it is at the purchase. We don't know much of the history of the bike we buy. So it's a risk. You might get a junk! And when you import, you have to pay a huge tax which is more than the actual value of the bike, this is common for any vehicle. And even the old bikes we buy are expensive than the brand new Indian bikes in the market. I had to save money for a long time to buy this bike.

Second thing is, some small business folks who import the old bikes and sell are taking a long time to deliver bikes, I had to wait one and a half months to get my bike. Had to do a paint job and change the fairing kit. They waste your time and some times money. So be careful and always follow up with the seller until you get the bike in your hands. My experience is very bad with the particular seller of the bike. (I wont name his business details in public). Overall, I'm happy about the bike. Have to ride for a week to test every thing and check on any issue.

Having a CBR was a dream for me from a long time. Finally I could make it a reality. Let's see how it goes.

Some photos : http://on.fb.me/JDQCsv
A video clip taken at Fingara car park : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRJupGGM2MI